Government launches new standard food labelling

The government is to introduce a new standardised labelling system on food products in order to make it easier for consumers to make healthier choices about the food they buy and compare different products.

Health Minister Anna Soubry today gave the go-ahead for a voluntary system which will combine some of the existing information displayed by many retailers into one clear and consistent front-of-pack label across the food industry. The labelling, which will give guideline daily amounts (GDA), and multiple traffic lights (MTL) in addition to the levels of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and the amount of calories in the product, will use consistent visuals across food products. The new hybrid system, which came after a 3-month consultation with retailers, manufacturers and other stakeholders, is expected to come into effect next summer.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: “The UK already has the largest number of products with front of pack labels in Europe but research has shown that consumers get confused by the wide variety of labels used. By having a consistent system we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food. This will help us all choose healthier options and control our calorie intake.

The major retailers had already singnalled their intent to thron their weight behind the initiative, prior to the government’s announcement. Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King urged the industry to adopt a common standard when he spoke at the food industry’s annual IGD convention two weeks ago (October 10).

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